Making shorts can be very rewarding, but the venues for selling them have become the brunt of some poor and insensitive jokes. A great short is a great film, and something is wrong with society when there can be over 100 channels but not one "Liquid TV." This link may be helpful for selling shorts, along with this link -- TIPATHON .
My recommendations for people seeking to make good shorts: a) if it's going to also be a "demo reel," be it for character animation with lip synch, and/or lighting, and/or textures, I have found that getting lost in form is a royal time-waster; b) "funny" may be easier to accomplish when people get to read your project as a script (in my experience, improvisation while taping also helps); c) crude is easy but rarely fast to make, positive and uplifting is faster than most realize as long as one keeps to the original tenor of the project; d) there is a kind of short film that I have had suggested to me, one that tries a new kind of lighting, or characters who only speak in traditional haiku, or explores the highest truest content with minimal form, and then maximum form, or has characters (or production crew) only thinking good thoughts versus thinking angry thoughts -- if, for no other reason, because other animators and artists will be able to refer to that short and say, "see, that's what happened;" e) "give forward."
Stuff I'd like to make:
In Christian Science, there are several highly thoughtful prayers that might be interesting to motivate the viewer to think. One has the line "All is infinite mind," so that having a character who cannot accept this idea, and another who is trying to convince them, and can show why it is worth believing, and the audience siding with this character. Yes, "Star Wars" had this scene, and CS is similar to Presbyterian thought. There are two reasons not to make this sort of film: Saint Peter was not fond of pagan rituals with their myths in the face of the fact of Jesus, and is it not a dubious role for animators to wallpaper little mermaids on children's rooms if Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy were the source material?One solution I am thinking of including regularly is a disclaimer and/or apology.
An exploration of aesthetics, where in the process of thoroughly explaining how the viewer will be subliminally swayed as part of a "Disclaimer," some extremely heady stuff is covered, from body language to syllable choice to eye direction to wallpaper composed of scripture,...
A parody of "demo reels," where the animator calls attention to all of the sophiscicated techniques they incorporated into their short with subtitles floating through the air. When I was going to do this as part of a class assignment, I was going to use subtitles indicating "bones with metamorphosis," "contour lighting," "reflection map with transparency alpha matte." Visually, having subtitles hanging in the air while the camera moves is a kick too. Oddly, this might be instructional. A funnier version would incorporate "asides" or very sappy story elements, or cut to live action and continue to claim that everything is animated.
"Beta Test" about some young kids who get to test the "latest" games. Yet another reprieve for "Roller Demo Derby." There are three versions of demo derby: one with extremely abstruse but relevant villains, like "letting go of resentment" towel-man, and time-management detour-sign-man; another where one or both teams is extremely sappy cuddly and benign; and a third where the combatants, referee, ticket-taker, the audience, everyone gets killed.
Parody amusement rides, using the excuse/premise that the short is a proposal for an amusement ride to a local amusement ride company. I have wanted to develop a number of amusement rides. And I have shrank back in horror at the idea fo other amusement rides: Jesus, the ride, recalling trips to the various Missions in California; "Inside a Brew," which has the germ of a Bart Simpson ride, as long as a nuclear reactor could be involved; "Safe, Clean and Plentiful" might be spliced to "Duff," because of funding problems, for instance; or "Sex Ed, the Ride;" "Inside A Book" sponsored by a library association that seems to think nobody remembers what one looks like; the "Dinosaur Ride to End All Dinosaur Rides" in which dinosaurs recapture scenes from "Rocky," Star Wars," etc; "When You Finally Get A Job" for reluctant graduate students, about the real careers available to them,...
CGI Float animations for impossible Rose Parade floats. The tornado from the Wizard of Oz, the "Max Steele" float, the "Home Schooling" float, the Federal Reserve float,... (again, this could be a "proposal" to a company's Board of Directors).
Another little "test" was based on the question of whether content were more important than form, or whether as one artist, Garry Winogrand, put it -- when form is on the verge of overwhelmin content or content is on the verge of overwhelming form, you have art. Jesus' parables notwithstanding? The plan is two wads of clay sitting on a typical "talking heads" two chair set. The dialogue: what is the most effective life?
"Meat puppets," fashioned into puppets talking about vermiculture or vegetarianism?
Talking marijuana? I modelled a little man out of a grocery market's red twisty wire, and figured animating a "joint" would be the same difference. Also, there have been some weird laws about marijuana. Personally, if a person has a choice between incontinence from alcohol and none from marijuana, that's enough prescription for me. Where does a joint in a car mean the car's title is forfeited? Where are children encouraged to turn-in their parents at school? Where can a person lose their house over a joint? Where is this now stopped, but it wasn't three years ago? It's not my issue, but it couldn't hurt.
"Free foot massages." A millionaire who gives foot massages outside a grocery market? Have him do a rant about how he loves people, and makes observations on leading topics, distilled philosophy, putting his money where his mouth is. Dating a Christian Scientist. Activity itself.
Ping Pong Heaven: two ping pong balls have a furious game, but it turns out they are using a paddle as ball.
REALLY short holiday christmas classic: "The Littlest Snowflake."
Invizo Kids: the animated adventures of a group of invisible preteens. Speaking of ping pong, toothbrushing and happening to wander into things parents would rather not talk about, they save the world on a weekly basis.
ATM puppet theater. Two versions: one, where the ATM is made into a puppet theater in order to attract more business. So one has a batman-like character's fortress of enterprise. In version two, more of a punch and judy tale.
Weather shorts: animated weather spots? I think it would be cool if weather people could make light of the weather, don't you? Have a do-it-yourself protable sauna kit, converts any RV or pick-up truck into your very own personal cedar-lined spa. Maybe have some guy speaking out of his pickup in a market parking lot in Finnish with subtitles. That sort of humor for a sweltering day.
Parody weather animations? Hey, they're numbers, duh. (Actually, this would be better with MAYA collision dynamics:) you could have the world spin, and the numbers fall-over and fly off the planet. It's a giggle. The HI declares himself emperor of the land and sea, and orders the little numbers to serve him.
They froze Mao Tse Tung! This is the only idea that runs with the crowd of projects I braindrizzled with a Simpson's animator for a fictional animation studio, "Hamrony Wonder Productions."
Parody Builder Bob with Banker Becky? I have heard Bob is pretty excellent, but you know this is coming from a perspective of student loans, non-minimum wage countries and moraly bankrupt mutual funds.
Back on the subject of spiritual films, how about people who are transported to levels above or below where they appear to be through a network of interlocking elevator rooms. When they are nice, they go hiher, to a better crowd of elevator dweller; when they are selfish, they sink to lower floor-rooms. They walk around freely through doors, but occasionally, a splashing fishbowl or other evidence clues the viewer to a change of floor. Tis was originally an aside for another film, where the person watching the movie on tape says "What a loser" and sinks...
Actually, a "show" of animated 3D spiritual films along the lines of "Twilight Zone" might be nice. The premise would be those thoughts which help us break through the mortal gauze, be it searching for angels, or being better neighbors or doing as much as one can in a day or finding out the best definition of love... a longtime goal of mine. A related goal would be "Comparitive religion Quickies," in which an eclectic item like ancient Egyptians terra cotta "cones,""Swedenborg," or "PAM" or "metempsychosis" would get 60 seconds of fame...
The feature project "Offshore" could be broken down into about 1,000 shorts, I figure, though the crux of every one is probably -- what ideas are you endorsing. Two little girls explaining that everything you possess is money, or that what you possess possesses you, or do not spend money on nothing. Some of the material may be kind of clammy, though, such as: if life is likea chess game, then there are a LOT more pawns than kings and queens right now... On the plus side, one can point out that a Warren Buffet investor is a Coca Cola endorser and that can be animated with kids or cola bottles, etc. Or explain how the Xeno paradox can be applieed to your child's education as well as the Roulette table,...
Another idea I mulled over for Hamrony Wonder at one time was TEAM ORIGAMI! Probably something similar, and the gist was the merchandising angle, you sell a box containing colored paper. It wasn't originally intended for 3D, and that would be a ROAR.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR MARTYRS! The least popular show with age groups 3-5, 6-8 and 9-10! I harbor a little resentment about the "Extinct Species Decimations Re-enacted" after-school specials of the 1970's, can you tell? It sure helped being able to mangle plants in the backyard afterwards. I mean, dramatize how the Firefly DESERVED to become extinct, that's different, show them taunting little poor children and then have the scientist genetically splice firefly glow DNA with the common mosquitoe, so that everybody is happy. Same difference except you run to your car and drive 100 miles to avoid swarms of firequitoes.
"The loneliest juniper berry" on Christmas (or Valentine's) Eve is mistaken by an acoholic woman for mistletoe. It may be funnier if it's for Valentine's. Juniper berries and mistletoe ARE botanically cousins, IF you know your botany.
The problem with the above is that it is pretty dark; similarly, I had an idea for putting the brakes on anti-compassionate media with a "RocketBoy" parody set in the 1950's in which all the Russian characters are evil sadistic ideologue monsters, and have designs on american womanhood, and plan to use movies, unions and jazz music to climb to power. It may yet happen, but does it really INFORM anyone? I suppose people wouldn't know the kind of crap that has been circulated as truth in the past, but that's not a lot of message to warrant production. Most of us are NOT idealogues; we either want to know the will of God, or truth, or both, but we cannot honestly defend any ology while we cannot afford a decent pair of shoes. The worthwhile deeper messages are Principle before Personality, and judge righteous judgment, I suppose. Plotwise, RocketBoy stows away, but not before overhearing the union spaceship workers talking in Russian, when his Dad finds him, he is dropped into an escape pod, which is magnetically seized by a huge orbitting space station, which also manages the immense Russian media/union/women's-liberation conspiracy from space.
Conversely, but only if it's true, one can make an anti-US Russian "COSMOBOY" parody, as if Russia could make puppet films in the 1950's using Georges Pal's technique, and mounted lengthy sci-fi projects painting the West as gangsters and robber-baron's and their minions. Advertizing hypnosis, deceptive banking,TV cartoons that teach children NOTHING, parasitism of neighboring countries paid sub-minimum wage, mind control masquerading as religion -- pretty dark stuff, even where the truthy stuff goes.
Mission Impossible begins with an extremely evil premise that is the equivalent of death to all freedoms, or is it just me? Secretary will disavow? Isn't that how the X-Files began?
More 1950's parody: the Little Miss Princess Show, where Rosy the Riveter is rescued by Little Miss Princess, with the aid of barbiturates and very tight sleep-aid products, to embrace the wonder that is a domestic life of cosmetic products, pet-rearing, beauty contests, fashion magazines and limited expectations.
While taking pot-shots: BE AN ANIMATOR! Are you a writer caught-up in the thousands of ideas that are your stock in trade; consider a NEW career as an ANIMATOR! You not only call the shots, you call the lights, the fabrics, the skintones, the falling leaf! Writers make as much as five times as much as poets!